White Asparagus Gratin; cooking for two

As you all know, I am cooking for two.

All of the recipes on this blog are for 2 – or for 2 for two dinners (okay, more if it’s soup…. but hey, it’s soup!)

For some things that’s easy….

2 chicken breasts are a breeze to grill.

My small crock-pot does a great job on 2 pork chops.

We can get a huge main course salad out of 1 head of lettuce.

Other things are more of a problem….

It can take most of the week to eat a big head of cauliflower or cabbage – and they are always big.

Then there are the things that just seem to fussy to bother with for a small amount….

Like making a half cup of béchamel.

And yet, sometimes I really want just a half cup of béchamel.

Fortunately, I have learned that béchamel (and many other things) will keep for a few days in the fridge.

I’ll post the recipe using the other 1/2 cup of the béchamel next.

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White Asparagus Gratin

White asparagus gratin is a popular first course in the spring. Peel the spears carefully, all the way to the top. They are brittle and break easily…. But they are worth it.

  • Author: Katie Zeller
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Vegetable
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

Scale
  • 10 white or violet asparagus spears, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 tbs flour
  • 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) milk
  • 3 tbs Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 oz (45gr) bacon, chopped, fried until crisp

Instructions

  • Bring a large pan of water to boil and blanch the asparagus for 5 minutes, 8 minutes if thick.
  • Drain and place in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring with a whisk or fork.
  • Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until you have a thick sauce.
  • Stir in mustard.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Take 1/2 cup of the sauce and refrigerate the rest for another use.
  • Stir tarragon and yogurt into the 1/2 cup sauce
  • Pour sauce over asparagus.
  • Sprinkle with cheese, then top with bacon
  • Bake, 400F (200C) for 15 minutes, until the sauce is browned and bubbly.
  • Remove, divide onto 2 plates and serve.

Notes

Use green asparagus if that is what you have available – cut blanching time by 2 minutes and refresh in cold water to maintain the color. It’s not necessary to peel green asparagus.

Keywords: asparagus, gratin

White Asparagus Gratin

On another subject….. I know you are all anxious to see my Bug House, er, I mean, Insect Hotel.

This is a 3 bug hotel….

The top, with the little tubes is for bees, mainly, according to the booklet that came with the hotel, the red mason bee.

The bottom left is for ladybugs (ladybirds for the Brits); and bottom right is for earwigs.

I, personally, find earwigs particularly creepy and did not knowingly by a house for them. However, I have since learned that the earwigs, along with the ladybugs, eat vast quantities of aphids.

My potager is usually blessed with vast quantities of aphids.

It’s supposed to be protected from wind and rain which means I don’t really have a good place next to or in my potager. So I have it on my potting table which is very protected and gets full morning sun.

I haven’t noticed anyone checking in yet, but it’s only been there a few days.

And it may be too late in the season.

We shall see.

7 thoughts on “White Asparagus Gratin; cooking for two”

  1. You are too late for Orchard Bee Osmia bicornuta and Red Mason Bee O. rufa (btw, I get way more O. bicornuta than O. rufa here, but either are good for pollinating fruit). Other solitary bees, such as various Megachile spp will likely move in. They are the ones who collect the pollen under their abdomen and cut semi-circles out of leaves (usually from your rose bushes) to line their nest with. Also good to have. You may also get a few Mexican Grasshopper Wasps — you will know them because they leave dry grass sticking out from the tubes. They stock their nests with paralysed grasshoppers then block them off with dried grass. They don’t pollinate, they are not native, but they are not a problem.

    In terms of aphid munching, hover fly (known as flower flies in North America) larvae are also excellent chompers. And best of all are lacewing larvae — very ferocious on the aphids.

    • Well, I tried. Next year I will be better prepared. And perhaps the hubs will build some that can be in the actual potager, or near it. It was just to new to us this year. Still, I’m so glad I learned about it.
      I have an irrational fear of spiders (but, for some reason, only in the house) but have never been bothered by any of the flying bugs (except mosquitoes) lol

  2. Lovely little house and I see that you can replace the insides. Very good! A nice, clean parasite and disease free spot.

    I don’t mind spiders. They eat a huge amount of bad bugs. Especially the hunter spiders. Someone on our township FB group posted a picture of a Wolf Spider that was almost as big in leg span as a two liter bottle of pop. They’d found it while taking a wall in their house down. Of course, the usual “burn it” comments went out though a few actually agreed with me that putting it outside would be the right thing to do. I did posit though that if it was that big, imagine the kind of food source it must have between the walls…the thread got very quiet…

    • It probably would have been very unhappy outside…. House spiders rather like being in houses. I remember wolf spiders from living in MN on a lake. Here we have European house spiders, which are also very big,,,, and scary. lol And, yes, I know… if there is no food they go elsewhere. There will never be a lack here, I’m afraid.

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